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Sperm bank wants judge to toss suit involving biracial child

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DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (AP) — A sperm bank in northeastern Illinois is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing it of mistakenly providing sperm from a black donor to a white Ohio woman, arguing that the baby was born healthy.

Lawyers representing Midwest Sperm Bank in Downers Grove, Illinois, say state law doesn't allow for damages arising from the birth of a healthy child, the Chicago Tribune ( ) reported.

Jennifer Cramblett became pregnant in December 2011 through artificial insemination using sperm donated by a black man instead of the white donor whom she and her partner selected. Cramblett learned of the mistake when she was five months into her pregnancy after calling Midwest Sperm Bank to reserve another sample from the same donor so her partner could have a child with a blood relation to the older sibling, she said.

The lawsuit filed last fall claims the mistake was made because the sperm bank keeps handwritten records, and an employee misread the donor numbers, giving Cramblett sperm from donor No. 330, instead of No. 380.

The sperm bank sent a partial refund check and an apology letter to Cramblett a month after she learned of the mistake, she said.

The couple's daughter, who's described in the lawsuit as "a beautiful, obviously mixed race, baby girl," was born in August 2012.

Cramblett claims the sperm bank's error caused her to live with "anxieties and uncertainty about her future and (her daughter's) future," because they lived in a predominantly white and intolerant town. Her lawsuit accuses the sperm bank of breach of warranty and "wrongful birth."

Attorneys for the sperm bank argue in their motion for dismissal that wrongful birth doesn't apply because the child wasn't born with a hereditary or genetic disorder. They also claim the suit's other allegation, breach of contract under the state's so-called blood shield act, isn't valid because the sperm wasn't deficient or contaminated.

The case is due in court next week, but the sperm bank's motion for dismissal isn't expected to be argued until later this summer.


Information from: Chicago Tribune,

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